After our return from vacation, I asked myself and my family to consider what God taught us during this time. May seem like a strange question, but since I believe God’s money was invested to pay for the vacation, our planning of the trip was prayed over and we spent a concentrated two weeks away together, surely He was interested in teaching us something as well. Rest, relaxation and play were surely part of the trip, but there was also something deeper to take away. For our time from home and work didn’t mean we took time away from God. So, as He does at home, God was also at work on our vacation – leading us, protecting us and teaching us:
Courage: My son is twelve and our trip to Hawaii involved many first time experiences for him, including snorkeling, swimming out deep in the ocean, flying on a prop plane, walking along cliffs, and watching Daddy do some crazy things, as usual. All of which caused him some initial fear at times. So, when he thought about what God was teaching him during our trip, he immediately responded with one simple, but profound word – courage. He felt God was teaching him to be courageous and not so fearful, but to trust Him more. What a powerful lesson indeed (Joshua 1:9)!
Moments: My daughter who is a teenager at first didn’t understand why we would go to a church in Hawaii when we were away from home, but soon appreciated and found great value once we did. For it was there God helped speak to her heart about a lesson He desired her to learn – to be present in each moment as they came. This realization came to her because the sermon that Sunday was on worry, and she knew she had been allowing herself to dread her return home, where school work, tests and responsibilities were waiting for her. This distraction was causing her to worry and stealing her joy while on vacation. After the sermon, she began to resist the worries that would pop in her mind and began enjoying the present moments. What a great gift to learn at such an early age – to be present in the moments we have, rather than worrying about things that haven’t happened yet (Ephesians 5:16). Even Mark Twain once said, “I have worried about many things that never happened“.
Still Me: My lesson was reconfirming the fact that no matter where I go, there I am. For example, there were moments despite being in a beautiful location surrounded by family, sibling quarrels would break out, stress levels would rise, I would lose patience, folks would get grumpy and the list goes on. In summary, reality didn’t stop just because we were on vacation. So often it’s easy to convince ourselves that if we only had something, or lived somewhere we would find bliss. However, as we know, this is never true this side of heaven. For even in the midst of incredible beauty and having everything we think we desire within our grasp, discord and discontentment can still find us. Sad, but true. Interestingly, it was refreshing and a relief to be reminded of this truth – nirvana does not exist on earth. So, we might as well stop trying to find it, or make it happen. Instead, we can enjoy the moments we have, live courageously for Christ, and trust Him all along the way (Psalm 118:24).
Application: “Always Seeking” – Psalm 105:4
No matter where we are, or what we’re doing, God is with us. It’s not like He disappears when we go on vacation and our fellowship with Him only applies at work and home. God is everywhere and always and constantly guiding, leading, loving, discipling and teaching. The question is are we constantly seeking and looking to Him, not just during our times of need and trouble, but always – even on vacations.